The Coup, “Guillotine”. Many of the songs off of The Coup’s “Sorry to Bother You” album were influenced by, or were responses’ to Occupy Oakland protests and band members’ participation in the movement. Thought this would be a good place to start, with an anthem from the Occupy Movement.
A Tribe Called Red, “Burn Your Village to the Ground”. Tongue in cheek response to genocide of Indigenous peoples in North America by this group from Ottawa who have been doing “powwow-step” since 2007. taken from a classic episode of “The Addams Family”.
Killer Mike, “Reagan”. I like this song because it puts the last 30 years of American intervention into a poetic context that does an excellent job of explaining how Ronald Reagan brought us to the point of war and conflict that the US is in today.
Linton Kwesi Johnson, “Fight Dem Back” A militant response to racist violence in 80s UK from Dub Beat poet Linton Kwesie Johnson. Although LKJ hasn’t released any dubpoetry in recent years, it’s still very relevant. In the 80s and 90s he focused a lot of Thatcher’s Britain and specifically the lives of Afro-Caribbeans in the UK. “Fight Dem Back” was in response to racist attacks by neo-nazis on immigrants in London.
Dave Stewart with Saul Williams, Nadira X , “Angola 3″ A song written in 2006 about the imprisonment of the Angola 3, is still very relevant today, as the last of the Angola 3 that are still locked up, Albert Woodfox , has won his freedom several times recently but it has been continuously fought by the State of Louisiana
Las Cafeteras, “It’s Movement Time” . From Los Angeles, Las Cafeteras , formed by Son Jarocho musicians (Indigenous folk music from Veracruz, Mexico) at a community space in LA called the Eastside Cafe. Much of their music focuses on current political struggles going on in The Americas, and locally. I picked this song because it does a good job of putting a history lesson into a good rhythm.
Ana Tijoux, “Antipatriarca” A song by French-Chilean, Ana Tijoux. Her parents were political exiles under Pinochet’s reign. She was also in the Chilean hip-hop group Makiza for 10 years, from ’97-06. Sung in Spanish, the English title is “Anti-Patriarchy”
ChocQuib Town, “Oro”. Afro-Columbian hip hop group, much of their music focuses on the struggles of poor Afro-Columbians. This song, “Gold”, is about the horrors of gold mining in Columbia.
The Welfare Poets, “The Bullet” Although this song is a bit old and maybe dated (2004) it still rings a cord in criticizing electoral politics and what it has failed to do to help the poor and People of Color in the US. The are a collection of activists and musicians from the Bronx and an Afro-Caribbean hip hop collective that have been playing music and working in revolutionary fights since the early ’90s
Rebel Diaz, “Obama”. The Bronx’s own. Even though this song may seem out-dated i think of it as more of an “i told you so” moment. Or maybe after 6 years of disillusionment on the left with Obama, a vindication of people’s criticism.
M.I.A., “Boom (skit)” One of my personal favorite, popular female rappers with a short take on how rediculous racial stereotypes of Muslims and South Asians are.
Balkan Beat Box, “Political Fuck” Another party song about abandoning electoral politics for a more direct attack. BBB has been making beats and hip hop with Balkan and Middle Eastern tones for years now, It was hard to choose only one song, and i picked this because.
RAAD, Gezi Parki Marsi” A Turkish hip hop song that came out of the uprisings in Turkey in 2013. Originally to protest the destruction and gentrification of Gezi Park in Istanbul, it grew as a leftist protest movement and spread to dozens of cities in Turkey through out the summer of 2013.
127 , “Nobar”. A band from Tehran, Iran that mixed Persian music with jazz,Balkan and folk. Although this song is not specifically political , 127’s existence in itself was a political statement : not officially recognized by the regime, and thus banned and illegal, the band found it hard to even practice or play live shows without risking arrest. The band put out at least 4 releases in their time together in the 2000’s.
Hurray for the Riff Raff, “The Body Electric” Thought i’d end the set with a sad song by Hurray for the Riff Raff, a folk/bluegrass/blues band from New Orleans who are also involved in fighting for LGBT rights, among other things, as reflected in this song.